3 Essential Workouts for a Healthy Heart

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Regular exercise can lower your risk of diabetes, stroke, depression and obesity, and it’s very beneficial for your heart, too. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, people who are sedentary are twice as likely to develop heart disease than those people who get regular exercise.

People that are physically fit have a lower risk for heart disease or at least, it delays significantly suffering from a heart condition later in life.

Regular exercise can lower blood pressure and lower your cholesterol. Added bonus? The American Heart Association (AHA) says that for each hour of regular exercise you get, your life expectancy will increase two hours.

Whether you have heart disease or you’re just looking to start a heart-healthy fitness plan, here are three types of workouts you’ll want to incorporate.

Aerobic exercise for better circulation

For overall cardiovascular health, the AHA suggests getting at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity like walking five days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like running three days a week. This type of exercise will improve your blood circulation, which can lower your blood pressure and help control how your heart pumps. Here are some aerobic exercises to try:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Indoor cycling and outdoor biking
  • Elliptical, stair climbers and steppers
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Jump-roping

 

The talk test can help you understand the intensity level of the exercise you’re doing: During moderate-intensity activity you should be able to talk, but not sing. During vigorous-intensity, you shouldn’t be able to say more than a few words without taking a breath.

Resistance training for stronger muscles

The AHA also recommends moderate or high intensity strength training two days a week. Stronger bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments help you perform daily tasks and lowers your risk of injury.

Stronger muscles can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories, even when you’re not working out. And strength training isn’t just about free weights—here are some more ideas:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Chin-ups
  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Resistance bands

 

Remember to take at least one day off in between training sessions so your muscles can recover.

Stretching, flexibility and balance for musculoskeletal health

Flexibility exercises like stretching and balance training improve your musculoskeletal health. Good musculoskeletal health gives you the ability to perform resistance and aerobic exercises that are good for your heart. Good flexibility can help with stability, and prevent injuries and falls. Try these flexibility-improving workouts:

  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Dynamic stretching before workouts
  • Static stretching afterwards

 

Get started now

Worried because it’s been a while since you last exercised? It’s never too late to start. You’ll want to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan, especially if you have heart disease. If you have chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or palpitations while exercising, report your discomfort to your doctor as soon as you can.

If you need a doctor and would like a free physician referral, call Osceola Regional Medical Center’s Consult-A-Nurse® at (800) 447-8206.